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There is a tendency in the marketing world to focus on categorizing people into pigeonholes as a shortcut in order to influence those they are marketing to. As the world’s population grows, more people are pigeonholed and pundits appear to tell you how to market to this and that group.  While this may be valuable as a construct, it is not the absolute truth regardless of what the experts say.

We subscribe to many online marketing publications, and we see some of the dopiest headlines.  Here is an example: “Millennial shoppers value compassion, customer service more than most... They tend to expect brands to be more value-conscious…” We, who are not in the millennial pigeonhole, value compassion and customer service, and it is unimaginable that anyone in any pigeonhole would not value great service or compassion. 

Another headline touted that millennial folks invented and love craft beers. Fact is that craft beers have been around a long, long, time all over the world.  This group may have popularized craft beer places but did not invent them. In our little village, we have a craft beer place that has existed before the word “millennial” was invented.  And we can assure you that we have met people with the millennial label who disliked beer of any kind.

In order to be successful in your marketing efforts, you need to focus on specifics or the core values of the people in your marketplace. Who are the people in your target market, what is important to them? What are their habits? What kind of lifestyle they have?  Do they read the newspaper and is it delivered to their door every morning?  If they do, then you better have an ad in that paper! This may be contrary to your beliefs that “print is dead”.  For them it is not.

Understanding the values of your marketplace without judgmentlabels or preconceived notions, will put you way ahead of your competition who are relying on pigeonholes.  It takes time to understand different values and adjust your thinking.  In the long run, you will have learned compassion.  And, compassion is something that is a value that is understood and appreciated by all.